Functional status of nursing home residents differs by race

A data brief from the National Center for Health Statistics, titled “Racial Differences in Functioning Among Elderly Nursing Home Residents, 2004,” shows elderly African-American nursing home residents have more difficulties in daily living than other races.

Key findings of the report conclude elderly African-American residents:

· had poorer functional status than residents of other races;

· were more likely to be totally dependent in both eating and toileting and to be totally dependent in all five activities of daily living;

· were more likely to be incontinent of bladder, bowel, or both; and

· (among bladder-incontinent nursing home residents) were less likely than those of other races to have scheduled toileting plans.

Below is one of the more interesting graphs from the report (which you can view in PDF format here).

While I find the data to be compelling, I am confused as to why a report with “Racial Differences” in the title does not break out the findings of every race and compare them all. Instead, the brief lumps them into an “other races” category, and therefore seems incomplete. I would have liked to have seen similar data for at least Latino residents, as that population is most certainly exploding in the United States.

It will be interesting to see how minority residents affect care delivery in nursing homes as their populations continue to grow.

Topics: Articles